Oral Answers to Questions — Unofficial Strikes and Trade Disputes

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1966.

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Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough 12:00 am, 24th November 1966

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint an additional Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour to deal specifically with unofficial strikes and trade disputes.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

How does the Prime Minister propose to strengthen the authority of responsible trade union leaders against the shop stewards, who seem to be mostly responsible for the wildcat strikes which are doing so much harm to British industry?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

The hon. Gentleman is right that many of the recent disputes, which have been deplored in all parts of the House, have been against the advice of the responsible trade union leaders, but I think that he is wrong in his general slur on shop stewards, because by far the greater proportion of shop stewards in this country are as responsible as the trade union leaders—[Interruption.]—even some of the Tory ones, yes. The position has been, I think, that some of these very costly unofficial strikes have been led neither by trade union leaders, nor by shop stewards, but by unofficial elements. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that we cannot afford any of them.